Sunday, April 7, 2024

How I'm unmasking gaslighting, narcissistic abuse, parental manipulation, exploitation, neglect and endangerment

 Okay so I've given up all pretense that this blog is about how I lost 100 pounds and am focusing on umasking narcissistic abuse, parentification, exploitation, manipulation, neglect and endangerment. I'm  detoxing from toxic shame, parental gaslighting, codependence and CPTSD. If you need help on weight loss, check out the many earlier posts. For now I'm working through (or just beginning to recognize) the childhood and adult trauma with my parents and stepparents. And I think one important step is going to be to go back and reexamine each traumatic experience in light of new understanding. 

What is that new understanding? Well, it's not exactly understanding as yet. But rather being willing to look at what's happened from a new angle. I think the first step to healing for me, begins with just that, saying what happened. In the past few years, I've begun to talk openly and honestly with a few trusted people about my experiences as a child, teen and adult. Up to this time, I've managed to dismiss, minimize and compress them down to tiny, insignificant things. Because I have a high pain tolerance, I've gaslit myself into thinking they weren't that big a deal. They didn't hurt that much. But my chronic bizarre and traumatic nightmares are telling a different story. I can't drown out the CPTSD tinnitus anymore. 

Up to now, I've believed (been gaslighted into believing) that childhood trauma is what happened to other people (aka the people who were abusing, parentifying, neglecting, abandoning, exploiting, manipulating and endangering me). I had noting to complain of, right?  I was raised by loving people who had my best interests at heart, I told myself. They wouldn't do anything abusive, manipulative, exploitative, neglectful or endangering. If I did ever admit that I felt this way, I was shamed into feeling that I was wrong, too sensitive, too critical, lying, showing off, exaggerating  or just plain making it up. 

I learned very early that I'd better shut that shit down as soon as it reared its ugly. Your stepmother (actually referred to by my dad to me as "mummy" and who was only 14 years older than me with no capabilities, let alone desire, to care for me) would never anything harmful and how dare you even suggest it?? I hadn't but his guilty conscience was acting up. Your stepfather (actually mom's live-in boyfriend) is the head of the house. He can (and did) do anything he wants and you have to obey and like it. 

So I grew up thinking anything any of them did was okay. And I apologize for these little segues down memory lane. I cannot yet just say what happened without emotionally flashbacking and talking in my past voice. I'm also trying to weave in examples of what I mean so you will believe me when I say I was abused, exploited, manipulated, parentified, neglected and gaslit about it all. I have a real problem accepting that people actually believe me when I say what happened. That's why I waited 59 years to start telling it. 

Or rather I did tell some things a few years ago, but I was still in denial that they were abusive, neglectful, abandoning, parentifying, manipulating or endangering. One persistent friend remembers these stories and will call bullshit when I try to make excuses for it. Bless her. So I need and am learning to ask for a ton of affirmation that 1) I am believed 2) It was not healthy 3) was dysfunctional (neglectful, endangering, manipulative, gaslighting, etc. )

To counteract the memory voices of narcissistic abuse and gaslighting in my head, I need to hear fresh voices with clear perspectives not clouded by a narcissistic agenda. That's a word I've been using a lot more. I didn't know what it or NPD was but now that I do, I can see more clearly how this narcissistic abuse has shaped my life, persona, perception, self-concept, actions and behaviors. 

Now I'm working on unmasking covert narcissistic abuse. Once the mask is off you can't unsee the real face underneath. Is is scary? AF!!! I won't ever confront the narcissists. It would be too exhausting and counterintuitive. They've spent the last 6 decades building up facades of moral superiority and cloaks of invincibility. They've lied so many times they believe their lies. I did attempt one time, but only when questioned about some things. I met with a solid fortress of lies, denials and gaslighting. To say anything now would only cause me more pain, like the arrows that hurt more coming out than they did going in.  

Extended family has completely closed ranks against me. Weirdly, they're not even all related and some barely know each other. I have two parents, two stepparents and they each have kids. But one thing they know is that I'm wrong and the problem. There are one or two I suspect may be starting to see the light. But I won't be the one shining the torch. Been there, got stung by that. Too risky. They'll have to do their own healing or not. It's on them. 

I love how Youtube psychotherapists Richard Grannon, Patrick Teahan and Dr. Ramani reiterate that. IT. IS. NOT. MY. CIRCUS. I. DO. NOT. HAVE. TO. FIX. ANYONE.  As if I could. Those demands of responsibility were so deeply indoctrinated that even now as I begin to seek healing, my first worry is to help them. Shit, I can't even walk, emotionally?? Why the fuck am I trying to run?? Because I was expected to. And that too heavy burden is what got me in the mess I'm in. 

And can we just pause to sort out the many shades of grey in THAT? So there was no problem, you (parents) say. If there was, it wasn't that bad. If it was, it's no big deal. If it was, ya'll did nothing wrong. If you did, it was my fault. Okay, I was the problem. BUT THEN, now that I'm healing, ya'll are on my butt to extend the help? WTF? You schooled your kids in shitting on me. And now you still want me to help them? Fuck that noise. Reaching out only gets me sucked in. 

And therein lies the rub. And also the illogical fallacy. Yeah I  know it's logical fallacy. But there's nuttin honey logical about this. So please, answer me. What is it? You did nothing wrong or you did and I need to fix the shitshow you caused for everyone else? Including you?! I think not. I'm with Richard Grannon. Let the narcs sort their own narc shit. And that goes for "forgiveness" which you shoved down my throat like castor oil. 

You did nothing wrong. But if you did, I have to forgive you cause the Bible tells me so? So much narc abuse, you're making it up as you go along! I will not go into the many ways you've perverted God's word to your own ends. It is impossible to forgive those WHO ARE NOT SORRY. 

This is just more religi-babble. I now know it was, is, and always will be my fault somehow. I can't win for losing. It's my responsibility not just to fawn and freeze but FIX and then FAKE it's okay. Do I have to wipe everyone's asses too? Wait. Did that, too. Godalmighty, it's like they were nothing without me.

And with that,  I think we may be getting to the issue. Boiling it down to brass tacks as my dear husband would say! Maybe, just maybe, I got the brunt of it, not because I was the weakest but strongest link. 

I was the Gorilla Glue that held their house of cards together. They couldn't have gaslit me and wreaked narc abuse if I didn't participate in the shared fantasy. I was a kid so not of age of consent or accountability. So there's that. But also, maybe I'm the one they relied on because I'm strong. Or at least stronger than I think. But wait!! I don't want to be strong. Being strong only makes people expect more of you (learned that from Jean Valjean). 

We definitely need to unpack that more in an upcoming post when I'm not so tired. So for today, I'm asking trusted friends to validate my experiences where I can't for myself. That was my son's idea and a good one it is. I'm seeing by the large following that this might be hitting home for some. I don't get many comments but you can always feel free to. I don't get anything out of it. And I can't promise to answer. Still learning to crawl myself. 

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